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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Leica Noctivid 10x42, Swaro NL Pure 12x42, or Zeiss Victory SF 10x42 (1 Viewer)

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
All the different opinions and experiences, even the biased ones, make this forum great. Ultimately I need to spend more time behind each of those pairs and let my eyes decide. The level of importance I put on that FOV is really what I have been struggling with. That initial impression I got through the Noctovids was something I will not forget for a while.
Welcome,
Re that first impression thing.. Twice now Ive been trying out... NL 832 vs SF 832 at a dealer. The first time, (and inexplicably, the 2nd), as it happens I had just come from birding and had my 1042ELs in tow. I put the SFs to my face first and was looking at a Goldfinch encrusted bird feeder about 20' away. I was blown away how good it looked. To check that impression, I then put my own EL1042s up and the initial impression wasnt so good... till I realized by dumb luck the SFs were already focused on the bird feeder, my Els were not. A little tweak and OH yes, I just saved myself a couple thousand bucks... well maybe! Noticing this and paying attention as it seems you did, things settle in, and the differences appear. Ultimately, there were things I liked about the NLs better than the SFs - the point of the exercise. I also confirmed I like 10X better than 8s. You NEED to check out those 12s!
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
Its absolutely true , if you buy all three of them it will make you happy , I can assure you of that.

Just buy one at a time , separate purchase of 30 days for maximum extended anticipation of happiness.

Paul
 

Trinovid

mountain and glacier watcher
United States
Please, please explain. It has a 339 ft FOV at 1000 yards... Same as most 10x42s I have used for a long time. I would love to hear your opinion why I might regret it.
He initially thought you meant for birding; for hunting it may be exactly what you want.

Being more into compact, I'd take my Ultravid 10x32 HD+ for hunting.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
I am a hunter more than a birder, looking for moose blending into a forest on a far off ridge, details on Dall sheep horns, antler points through the forest... You birders know your binos better than anyone though, so I look here.

I've heard this expressed more than once, and to be honest I'm not sure I necessarily agree - because birders and hunters use their binoculars for different jobs. If you want a binocular that will help you, for instance, get on to flighty little critters hopping and flitting through branches at 30 to 50 yards quickly, there are people here who have the experience to give you good advice. But how many of us here regularly look for the things you do, over the distances you do, and probably the conditions too (bad weather, low light etc)?

There is plenty of interesting reading to be had here, but I really think that the best advice for your situation will come from folks who are using their binoculars for the same job that you will be, and under similar conditions (in relation to ruggedness/durability).
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
I've heard this expressed more than once, and to be honest I'm not sure I necessarily agree - because birders and hunters use their binoculars for different jobs. If you want a binocular that will help you, for instance, get on to flighty little critters hopping and flitting through branches at 30 to 50 yards quickly, there are people here who have the experience to give you good advice. But how many of us here regularly look for the things you do, over the distances you do, and probably the conditions too (bad weather, low light etc)?

There is plenty of interesting reading to be had here, but I really think that the best advice for your situation will come from folks who are using their binoculars for the same job that you will be, and under similar conditions (in relation to ruggedness/durability).
Well as a former one o dose and now one o youse, Id suggest the opposite. My former life informed my optics choices then, and that experience has served me just fine here. Back to my "Context" rant the other day. How we bird, where we bird, what kinds of birds, over what sort of terrain, has everything to do with these choices. If I took what seems the majority view here on BF as the attributes most useful for the birding I do, I'm reasonably sure the result would not be optimum.

There is no place that equals Birdforum's (not always so objective) opinions/advice on optics for the hunting crowd that I have found. But those folks can apply their experience to what is reported here and make their own choice.

I think Maljunulo's comment is right on, repeated here....

Binoculars do not care who is looking through them, what they are looking at, or why they are looking at it, a bit like telephones don’t care what language you are speaking.

Sometimes I do wish we would lay this hunting vs birding “stuff” aside, and just concentrate on being binocular users.
 

AlphaFan

Well-known member
United States
Hi Moose,

Welcome aboard. I can certainly understand the dilemma in considering which of the multi-thousand $ Alpha level binoculars to buy, and seeking some experienced opinions. The good news is = with the 3 models you‘ve already targeted there isn’t a loser in the bunch. Any of the 3 will give you many years of enjoyment, and all 3 companies stand behind what they sell. Also, you can relax as there is no such thing as the “perfect“ binocular. At this level it is all about preferences.

To me, the first thing to consider is the most likely & frequent environment you’ll use them. If in the eastern or midwestern forests an 8x would likely work best. If mostly midwestern farms, or northwestern prairies then 10x is a definite advantage. If mostly in the mountains or if mounted on a truck window or tripod, then 10x is almost a necessity. I’m personally not a fan of any 12x glass for hand-held operation - the shake is just too much - but sometimes folks just get caught up in the “more magnification is better” syndrome. I know that Swarovski now has the forehead rest for the NL Pure, but I cannot imagine how that would work in combination with a standard binocular harness.

I compared the same binoculars you are now considering and ended up buying the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42. There were things that I liked and disliked in all 3, but in the end felt the SF offered a better combination of optics and handling to suit my preferences. All optics choices are a compromise of features to some degree, and nothing is perfectly suited to all tasks. The one thing I would recommend before buying is to get your hands on and look through all 3. So, when you finally pick a winner, resist any second-guessing and just enjoy them for the spectacular view they provide.
 

tenex

reality-based
The level of importance I put on that FOV is really what I have been struggling with.
Been there. Two factors you want to consider:
(1) Is there some practical reason why wider FOV will work better for you? (Examples: keeping nearby moving birds in view, waiting for sea creatures to pop up again who knows where, etc)
(2) Is the purely aesthetic pleasure of wider FOV great enough that having seen it, anything less would feel like tunnel vision?

The second can be harder to answer. I used to think so, and expected to get an NL myself... but ultimately didn't. Binoculars with apparent fields of 60° (or a bit more) still work just fine for me, which allows more freedom in choosing a model by other criteria, even price.
 

William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
There all great binoculars but if your likely to be using them in dim/dark conditions ( you mentioned woodland/forests) you may want to try something with a slightly higher transmission/larger exit pupil before you pull the trigger so to speak... The best birding or hunting bino depends on where and when your most likely to be using them.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
There all great binoculars but if your likely to be using them in dim/dark conditions ( you mentioned woodland/forests) you may want to try something with a slightly higher transmission/larger exit pupil before you pull the trigger so to speak... The best birding or hunting bino depends on where and when your most likely to be using them.
This is good advice. I think 10X is where you should be. I have had the Zeiss SF 10x42 for several years and am very pleased.
It is very bright and the ergos are very good, balance and handling. The Leica Noctovid has good optics but the ergos are not
well done, they tried to make and open frame, but it is not friendly. The Swarovski NL in 10x42 may be a very good choice.
This is a big decision, so see if you can try them out. That is not easy in today's world, as not many retailers stock all of these.
I have handled all 3, and I don't play favorites.
Jerry
 

Ted Y.

Forum member
Supporter
Canada
looking for moose blending into a forest on a far off ridge
Welcome aboard.

A 12x binocular is not always the same quality as the 10x model, at least for models I know.
Maybe you can try the Steiner Predator 10x42mm AF. Made for spotting the game. I use it when visiting different parks. Just admiring the game, nothing more. Good also for birding.
But not at the same level of happiness as the 3 competitors.
 

tenex

reality-based
There all great binoculars but if your likely to be using them in dim/dark conditions ( you mentioned woodland/forests) you may want to try something with a slightly higher transmission/larger exit pupil
...like SLC 10x56, or (thinking of distant ridges, details, etc) even 15x56. I have both and highly recommend trying them.
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
How much do you use your 15x binoculars, and are they stable enough for hand held use?

I won't attempt to speak for Tenex, but I've also got the 15x56 SLC and use them a fair bit - mainly for walks across the local marshes and along the creek. Stability wise I find they're fine for a quick id or brief observation - the balance and mass gives a much more stable view than I expected. I wouldn't want to hold them up for very long periods at a time though and they do get heavy on the neck after a couple of hours. I couldn't say I can ID birds twice as far as my 7x50 SLCs but certainly significantly further and I like having birds fill the view at closer ranges.

I don't own the 12x42 Pures but have used them and was very impressed - if I was in the market for a 10 I'd certainly recommend trying the 12 as well if you tend to bird in open countryside.
 

moose907

Member
United States
Last night I went back to the store and spent some time looking at available options again. Comparing the NL 10x42 and the Noctivid 10x42, the wider FOV made a huge difference. It is like taking blinders off when you look through the NL. I have all but eliminated the Noctivid from consideration. The store does not have the NL 12x42, or what I really want to see, the Zeiss Victory SF 10x42.

They had the 15x56 SLC. They seem like a great pair of binoculars, but not quite the same crisp image as the NL. I need to see the SF and the NL 12x42..
 

A2GG

Beth
United States
Why not throw the new SFL 40 into the mix. Everyone who has tried it or owns it here say it’s at the alpha level. It has a wide FOV and is lightweight and compact. You’d save a good amount of money as well.
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
Why not throw the new SFL 40 into the mix. Everyone who has tried it or owns it here say it’s at the alpha level. It has a wide FOV and is lightweight and compact. You’d save a good amount of money as well.
The feedback on the 8s has been overwhelmingly positive, not much on the 10s and a bit mixed. No reason not to try them though.
Worth looking at the ELs and SLCs too for that matter.
 

moose907

Member
United States
The feedback on the 8s has been overwhelmingly positive, not much on the 10s and a bit mixed. No reason not to try them though.
Worth looking at the ELs and SLCs too for that matter.
Interesting the 10s aren't getting nearly as good reviews as the 8s. I'd be happy to look through them, but Sportsmans locally doesn't have any of them in stock. Options are limited in small town USA.
 

tenex

reality-based
How much do you use your 15x binoculars, and are they stable enough for hand held use?
I like the 15 very much and often carry it in open country or around lakes/ponds. I can hold it steady enough to see more detail than in a 10x, as graphs posted here predict (experiment shows the benefit levels off around 15x).

Some find even 10x too much, while many others use it; some use 12x at times; a few carry 15x, while most would only use it on a tripod. But any binocular is better on a tripod, because all handheld binoculars shake, so I think it's as much a question of how the brain accommodates to that (which may well have a learning curve) as how steady the hands are (support bin with palms, elbows underneath etc... the weight and ergonomics of SLC 56 help too). This tends to be a regular subject for argument so I'll say no more than, just see what works for you.
 
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Trinovid

mountain and glacier watcher
United States
Interesting the 10s aren't getting nearly as good reviews as the 8s. I'd be happy to look through them, but Sportsmans locally doesn't have any of them in stock. Options are limited in small town USA.
Should be a lot better range of binoculars available if you're in reach of Los Anchorage.
 

Trinovid

mountain and glacier watcher
United States
...the weight and ergonomics of SLC 56 help too). This tends to be a regular subject for argument so I'll say no more than, just see what works for you.
Say all you want, there should be no argument if someone simply speaks their view without assuming everyone else should agree. If I end up getting a large binocular, particularly one with high magnification, it seems that more weight would be very advantageous and being able to listen to you and others with lots of experience is what I really need.
Some of my favorite posters here are those who understand that all may not have the same requirements or preferences, and you seem to pretty well fall into that group I think. So, SLC 56, huh...
 

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